2017 Writer’s Conference Faculty, Workshop Descriptions & Schedule

For overview information and registration link, click here.

Conference schedule (may be subject to change)

Time Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 Extras
8:20 – 8:45 Check-in and light breakfast
8:30 – 9:15 Ice Breaker: Who Are You?
9:20 – 10:10 General Session: Dani Pettrey
10:20 – 11:20 General Session: Dani Pettrey
11:30 – 12:30 The Crown Award Luncheon
1:00 – 4:00 Photography, Editor, and Mentor appointments
12:45 – 1:55 Toni Shiloh: Writing Diverse Characters without Falling into Stereotypes(Beginner Level) Ronie Kendig: Mind Magic (Beginner Level) Heather Gray: Meme-Making Made Easy (Beginner Level) Special Guest appointments
2:00 – 3:10 Michele Chynoweth: It Takes One to Know One (Beginner Level) Elizabeth Maddrey: Box Set Bootcamp (Intermediate Level) Misty Beller: Marketing Essentials (Intermediate Level) Special Guest appointments
3:15 – 4:25 Zoe M. McCarthy: Make a Scene of Your Scene: 4 Improvements to Make Your Scene Stand Out (Intermediate Level) Panel Discussion: Panel Discussion (Beginner Level) Linda Wood Rondeau: The “I Hate to Plot” Workshop(Intermediate Level) Special Guest appointments
4:30 – 5:00 Conference Closing Session


Dani Pettrey

Called “a new author to watch” by Library Journal after her debut novel, Dani Pettrey has written bestselling romantic suspense that fans have fallen in love with. Each novel layers page-turning suspense with pulse-pounding romance, creating stories that Dee Henderson called “incredibly compelling adventures” and Publishers Weekly praised for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters.”

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Courage series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal described as “a harrowing and thrilling ride.”

From her early years eagerly awaiting the conclusion to a Nancy Drew book, to paging through Agatha Christy novels or on the edge of her seat in adventure movies later in life, Dani has always enjoyed mystery and suspense. She considers herself blessed to be able to write the kind of stories she loves—full of plot twists and peril, love and longing for hope and redemption. Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart. She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. For more information about her novels, visit www.danipettrey.com.

Toni Shiloh

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at http://tonishiloh.wordpress.com.

Beginner Level. Writing Diverse Characters without Falling into Stereotypes
Our world is filled with diversity and our writing should be to. How can we delve into the waters without falling into stereotypes? Discover the necessary steps to take to writing diverse characters and still celebrate uniqueness.

Ronie Kendig

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over fifteen novels. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband have an adventurous life in Northern Virginia with their children and a retired military working dog, VVolt N629. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Visit Ronie online at:

Beginner Level. Mind Magic
Tips to Capture Your Reading Audience. Marketing experts use psychological tools in advertising campaigns and promotions to ensnare consumers. Producers do the same thing with the set up and carry through of their scripts. We writers have similar, if not the same, tools right at our fingertips that can take a technically accurate manuscript and transform it into a brilliant masterpiece.

Come hear some sleight of hand maneuvers to psychologically capture your reader’s mind without them realizing it! There are elements in writing that will either spur your reader to maintain the journey, or detour at the nearest exit. These are inherent in the choice of words, the mental picture you paint. It’s almost like cheating, using the right techniques, words, sentence structure, and other aspects of writing that have psychological value.

Heather Gray

Heather Gray is a multi-published hybrid author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She likes good grammar, effective book marketing, and watching new authors flourish as they learn and grow. Long walks on the beach are nice, too. You can find Heather online at www.heathergraywriting.com.

Beginner Level. Meme-Making Made Easy
Have you ever made a meme to promote your book or brand only to look at it and wish you could gouge out your eyeballs? Or hit the delete button?

Then this class is for you!

We’re going to look at different memes and discuss what makes some more successful than others. You might even discover you have more skill and knowledge than you realize!

Then I’ll to walk you through the basics of making memes online using Canva and will show you how to employ their different features to make your memes shine. I’ll also give you some tips for how to fix a meme that isn’t coming together the way you want.

Whether you’re promoting your book, your website, or an upcoming event, memes are important part of social media marketing. So let’s learn how to make some fabulous memes!

*No eyeballs were harmed in the making of this workshop or its memes.

Michele Chynoweth

Michele Chynoweth is the award-winning author of Modern Day Bible Stories The Runaway Prophet, The Peace Maker and The Faithful One, contemporary, Bible-based novels full of suspense and romance. Prior to becoming a full-time author, speaker and book coach, Michele worked in marketing, publicity and journalism for 30 years. In addition to being an author, Michele is a college instructor teaching the courses “Writing Your First Book” and “Publishing and Marketing Your Book” through the Cecil College Continuing Education Program in Maryland. She is also an accomplished inspirational speaker and has presented many writing workshops at writers conferences across the U.S., and an experienced book coach who uses her many years of expertise in writing, editing, publishing and marketing to help other writers become successful authors. To find out more visit her website: www.michelechynoweth.com.

Beginner Level. It Takes One to Know One: Character Development
Without deep, well thought out characters, your book won’t leave a lasting impression. Make your characters come alive, discover tools and fun exercises, like one that will have you choose a movie star to play an unforgettable role in your book and enhance your overall story development.

Elizabeth Maddrey

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace on their way to their own romantic happily ever after.

Intermediate Level. Box Set Bootcamp
Publishing a box set with other authors can be a great way to find new readers and earn some good money. But, as with any group project, a box set has potential pitfalls. This class will cover everything you need to know before you venture into the world of indie box sets.

Misty Beller

Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and is a hybrid author of eleven novels, as well as a non-fiction book for authors, How to Market a Book Release.

With over ten years working in professional project management and marketing, Misty uses her experience in the corporate world to develop best practices in her writing and book marketing efforts. It is her passion to help other authors on this same journey.

Misty teaches courses and workshops at writers’ conferences around the U.S., educating authors on effective book marketing approaches and helping them apply that knowledge to their own books.

Beginner Level. Marketing Essentials
Grow your e-mail list, find new subscribers and convert potential readers to fans while uncovering and utilizing varied streams to target readers.

Zoe M. McCarthy

A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of Gift of the Magpie and Calculated Risk, writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. Believing that opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories, and she self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Zoe enjoys her five grandchildren, teaching Bible studies, leading workshops on writing, knitting and crocheting shawls for a prayer shawl ministry, and canoeing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Zoe blogs regularly at www.zoemmccarthy.com.

Intermediate Level. Make a Scene of Your Scene: 4 Improvements to Make Your Scene Stand Out

Participants will learn through instruction, examples, and short exercises: how to include a zinger in your scene’s dialogue; how to add suspense to their scene in any genre; how to use an imaginary video camera to make their scene’s setting come alive; and how to round out flat characters introduced in their scene.

Linda Wood Rondeau

Award winning author, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. Her current books include: The Other Side of Darkness, A Wonderful Love, Fiddler’s Fling, A Father’s Prayer, and Miracle on Maple Street. Two more releases are expected soon: The Fifteenth Article and Hosea’s Heart. She also serves as Senior Editor for Elk Lake Publishing. After a lengthy career in human services, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, Maryland. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com.

Intermediate Level. The “I Hate to Plot” Workshop
Do you hate to plot? Are you what some call a panster or intuitive story teller? Without cohesive plot development, however, stories may wander or become uneven. perhaps rush to a conclusion and leave the reader unsatisfied. This course helps the intuitive writer through the use of a five-point check system for plot development.

Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion
Join authors HEATHER GRAY, TONI SHILOH, ELIZABETH MADDREY, MEGAN WHITSON LEE, MISTY BELLER, RONIE KENDIG AND CAROLE TOWRISS — Nothing is off limits. Ask our multi-published authors anything about writing, publishing and marketing books.